Is it possible to not enjoy wine and chocolate together? The sweet, the savory, the bitter. It just always seems to work. But, did you know that you can really enhance a bar of great chocolate with an even better wine? Plus, chocolate and wine pairing can be a complete game changer when white or red is paired with a specific type of chocolate, too.
Many wine tastings will include chocolate and wine together for a pairing because of the flavors that enhance both the wine with chocolate and chocolate with wine. But, what is the best wine with chocolate? This article will go through a range of different chocolate types alongside the kind of wine that works well with various chocolates.
Why Chocolate and Wine?
Some of the greatest events in our lives include a Champagne toast and cake or a delicious, savory red wine with a lava cake on an anniversary or on a romantic date. Maybe your memorable chocolate and wine night was from a girls night in or solo after a long day at work. You kick off your shoes and head for bold, fierce tastes that bring you back down to earth.
Some of the greatest pairings come from the surprising, and often exhilarating combinations of sugar/fat in the chocolate and the sweet or rich deep tones that are in certain wine types.
Aside from eating and drinking this pair at special events, chocolate and wine actually have quite a bit in common when it comes to taste and even health benefits. For one, they are both categorized as aphrodisiacs, making them both the absolutely perfect pair for a romantic night in, wine tasting, or even a picnic. Another great similarity is the variety offered and the range of both wine and chocolate. You can opt for a mild pinot grigio or go all in with a bar of bitter dark chocolate (just don’t pair them together).
Last but not least, wine and chocolate also both contain antioxidants that, despite an excessive consumption of one or either, can actually be beneficial for your health.
Now that we know and understand the why behind pairing chocolate and wine together, let’s talk about how to pair the two. For a successful pairing, here are some tips we offer to make your chocolate wine pairing experience one that goes down in history at your next party or during your next date!
Tips for Pairing Wine and Chocolate
1. Keep things easy by pairing a sweet wine with a chocolate that isn’t quite as sweet
This seems like an obvious answer, but in reality, most chocolate and wine pairings are not as great or savory as they could be due to sweet being paired with sweet. Wine and chocolate are both bold in flavor, despite the type or kind you choose from either category, and you’ll want to play flavors off each other when they touch your palate.
Choosing a slightly sweeter wine will allow for the flavor of chocolate to not dominate, but compliment the pairing.
2. Keep the style and weight as close to the same as possible
What does that mean? For one, it means you will want to pair wine with chocolate that has similar lightness or boldness. The stronger the piece or chunk of chocolate, the bolder you will want to go with the wine of your choosing. Think bittersweet chocolate with a bold tannin-forward cabernet.
3. In your tasting, as best as possible, move from light to bold
This is pretty standard practice for a wine tasting, so you will want to practice the same method in choosing mild chocolate with a mild wine and a bitter chocolate pairing with a bold wine, as mentioned above. Respect your palate and don’t overdo the tasting before it even gets to the really good, rich stuff!
4. Explore your options!
Don’t shy away from bold with bold. You will want to explore every facet of your palate with the pairings. Chocolate-covered almonds with a glass of red wine, extra sweet fruit, and white chocolate mixture? Let’s go! Don’t be afraid to explore with chocolate and wine. It might be a great idea for your next date night!
Chocolate and wine Types
1. White Chocolate
Mellow, easy to eat, and the lightest to taste of all the chocolate choices, white chocolate is perfectly paired with the same degree of sweet of wine that you find in desserts. White chocolate taste leans toward smooth, buttery tastes.
Fruit-forward, fizzy, deliciously crisp wines are perfect with white chocolate, as the taste will not be completely overwhelming but will also provide bold flavors that offset one another on the palate. You can even find a great, fruity pinot and surprise yourself with just how good the pairing is with items that are made from white chocolate.
Some of our favorite white chocolate and wine pairings include:
– Castello Del Poggio’s Prosecco paired with a white chocolate cake
– A sweet sherry paired with small bites of white chocolate chips
– Fruity, bubbly rosé paired with white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake
2. Milk Chocolate
Milk chocolate in its highest quality is, generally speaking, half chocolate and half cream. Think ganache truffles rolled delicately in cocoa powder or, to take things back, your favorite Halloween candy, only better with a high-quality brand or type.
Although it is not as light as white chocolate, milk chocolate is one of the most popular chocolates, and with good reason. Milk chocolate is easy to make, easy to taste, and most people like it so much because it is mild in nature. Some of our favorite wines and chocolate to pair include:
– Sweet sparkling red Brachetto d’Acqui paired with a light, sweet chocolate mousse
– Ruby port-style wines from a late harvest, including port, syrah, petite syrah, or a light, airy pinot noir paired with milk chocolate truffle
– Medium bodied merlot paired with milk chocolate chunks
– Dry or Brut Champagne paired with milk chocolate dipped strawberries
3. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is best known for its bittersweet characteristics. Bold concentrations of cacao create a full body and deep, rich taste. A little bit goes a long way with this chocolate type. The best pairings are wines that come off with a smoky aroma and have hints of fruit, bold tastes, and even have a deep, robust aroma. This creates a palate of overloaded tastes that somehow balance one another out.
Most wines made from the Grenache grape have the same taste profile as bittersweet, dark chocolate with a density to the flavor that enhances the chocolate nicely. Some of our favorite pairings include:
– Merlot wine with deep, rich floral flavors, paired with dark chocolate bites
– Cabernet sauvignon with velvety tones and palatable tannins paired with dark chocolate-covered almonds
– Pinot noir with a full-bodied taste alongside a dark chocolate brownie
– Dense, fruity Zinfandels with a hint of spice alongside a dark chocolate lava cake
Each person has a different palate, and it might take some trial and error to find the perfect chocolate or chocolate dessert to pair with your favorite wine. The good news is, with the right quality wine and chocolate, you are bound to have a good time. Pick out a pairing and see which Castello Del Poggio wine pairs perfectly with your favorite dessert.